10 tips by a diabetes dietitian to control your blood sugar during Ramadan

Tips for ramadan by diabetes dietitian

Why do you need a diabetes dietitian especially during Ramadan?

Ramadan is the holy month for Muslims in which fasting is observed by almost all adults. Most Muslims, except those with illnesses; are mandated to observe fasting from dawn to dusk. Fasting during this holy month is considered as one of the pillars of Islam, hence individuals with health conditions such as diabetes, hypertension, etc. also do not wish to skip it (To read more about Indians and diabetes, click here)

While individuals who have diabetes are recommended to eat small mini meals at least 5-6 times a day rather than 2-3 large meals, this becomes impossible during fasting for Ramadan. Usually, patients are guided to eat small mini meals to avoid sharp rise in their blood sugars. Hence during Ramadan, it is imperative to seek guidance from diabetes dietitians about how to manage food along with fast

Herewith are 10 tips by a diabetes dietitian that can help you control your blood sugar during fasting for Ramadan:

1.Stay hydrated:

Stay hydrated as per diabetes dietitians advice

In Ramadan, it is important to drink plenty of water during sehri (meal eaten at dawn) as well as after iftar (meals after dusk) especially in countries with hot climatic conditions like India, Nepal, Bangladesh, Pakistan, etc. Else, people are at a high risk of dehydration.

When coupled with diabetes, dehydration can lead to dizziness (uneasiness and weakness which can lead to fainting) and mental confusion. To maintain good hydration, diabetes dietitians recommend to avoid dark coffee as it can aggravate dehydration. You may instead prefer milk/ tea without sugar during your sehri.

During iftar, you may opt for healthy coolents like water infused with lemon, mint leaves, ginger and cucumber or buttermilk with mint and coriander leaves. To add extra fiber, you may add 1-2 tsp chia seeds

2. Do not skip sehri:

If you happen to skip your sehri, it may get extremely difficult to manage almost 14 hours fasting without water. This may lead to drop in blood sugar which can give rise to complications such as hypoglycemia. Symptoms of hypoglycemia include like sweating, tremors, palpitations (rapid heart beats), dizziness (which can lead to fainting), confusion, etc. Hence, dietitians recommend that you should eat a well-balanced meal during sehri. What to eat, follows next.

3. Eat proteins and fiber for sehri:

Eat proteins as per diabetes dietitians advice

Diabetes dietitians recommend to prefer proteinaceous foods like eggs, yogurt, milk and milk products. Also, prefer cereals with high dietary fiber like rolled oats/ steel cut oats/ unsweetened museli/ unsweetened wheat flakes can be preferred with milk and dry fruits/ roasted seeds. Instead of animal milk, you may prefer plant-based milk like unsweetened oat milk, soya milk

Another simpler option is having chapatis by adding rolled oats or steel cut oats flour (30%) to wheat flour (70%) along with boiled eggs/ egg omlettes/ egg bhurji/ etc. It is imperative to avoid refined flour-based breads, biscuits, pav, sweets during sehri

4. Avoid sugar, jaggery, honey:

Discuss with your diabetes dietitian if you need sugar alternatives

Avoid addition of sugar or other alternatives like jaggery or honey. You may prefer artificial sweeteners like stevia or monk fruit. (To know more about different types of artificial sweeteners and their pros and cons, click here). Interested in sugar free vegan tea? To get the recipe, click here

5. Choose foods with low glycemic index:

Glycemic index is the metric that defines the capacity of a given food item to elevate your blood sugar 2 hours after consumption. If you choose foods with high glycemic index like sugar/ sweets or breads, they may raise your blood sugar. Diabetes dietitians recommend eating foods with low glycemic index like roasted chana/ boiled sprouts/ roasted nuts, etc rather than chocolates/ cookies/ etc

6. Prefer dry fruits/ roasted seeds at the beginning of iftar:

Avoid large meals while breaking your fast, instead prefer a healthy snack. Start iftar with dry fruits/ roasted seeds as they impart good amount of complex carbohydrates and healthy fats including omega 3 fatty acids which are healthy for heart. You may prefer 2 dates or 2 dry figs (anjeer) or 2 kharek but alongside, do prefer eating 2 walnuts/ handful roasted sunflower seeds. You may add a low glycemic index fruit like apple/ pear/ berries/ melons/ papaya/ guava/ etc. Diabetes dietitians recommend refraining from the use of sugar-based beverages during iftar

7. Avoid red meat, instead prefer leaner meat:

After your snacks, you may look forward to some appetizers that high in proteins and fiber. For example low-fat hara bhara kebabs/ sprouts tikkis/ soya fritters/ chick peas cutlets/ lentil pasta salad. (To gain access to these delicious and tempting recipes, you may join our therapeutic diet recipe course on UDEMY which has been designed especially for individuals with diabetes. To avail this recipe course, click here)

Thereafter, during this major meal; diabetes dietitians recommend you to prefer any one source of carbohydrate to lower the glycemic burden. You should also go less on recipes involving red meat that includes mutton/ lamb/ beef/ pork instead you may prefer leaner cuts of chicken or fishes. You may also prefer fish with brown rice or eggs with rice and avocado (avacados can be preferred 1-2 times a week).

8. Avoid harmful fats:

Refrain from fried and junk foods

Although it may seem tempting, but one should resist the temptation and avoid deep fried items such as fritters (pakoras)/ croquettes (fried balls/ wadas)/ rolls, etc as items that are refried over and over again in the same oil may pose a major threat to your heart health. Using the same oil again may lead to the formation of a dangerous chemical known as acrolein which may affect heart and lungs. You may prefer healthy fats like nuts, avacados, flaxseeds, chia seeds, etc

9. Monitor your blood sugar regularly:

Talk to your diabetes dietitian if your blood sugar drops frequently

Do not forget to monitor your blood sugar regularly or as mentioned by your doctor. If your fasting blood sugar is high, you may be overeating the previous night. Be careful about the portion size in that case. Or you may have missed your medicines, be watchful about the same. If your blood sugar is high post meals (i.e. 2 hours after sehri or iftar) then minus few carbohydrates i.e. eat 1 chapati less and prefer 1 fruit instead or vegetable soup

10. Avoid fasting if you notice complications:

In the meantime, between your sehri and iftar; if you face symptoms of hypoglycemia like profuse sweating, dizziness, palpitations (rapid heart beats), confusion, etc then you should immediately check your blood sugar. Alternately, your blood sugar may go high after meals and drop after 5-6 hours.

Remember that managing diabetes well can be simple of you are eating right as per the recommendation of a diabetes dietitian and if you are taking medications as prescribed by your doctor. However, if that’s not the case then you may land into complications ranging from hypoglycemia to even ketoacidosis which can have fatal outcomes

If you have type 1 diabetes or gestational diabetes, you should avoid fasting or seek guidance from your doctor.

At NutriKonnect, we provide customized diet plans as well as healthy and innovative recipes for type 1, type 2 as well as gestational diabetes. To avail our consultation with wholesome recipes, connect with us on 7208363223 or send an email on info@nutrikonnect.in

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